Investing in women's economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa while speaking at the opening of the 13th Triennial Conference on Pacific Women and the 6th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women last night.
Vuniwaqa says women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees or by doing unpaid care work at home.
She says women also remain disproportionately affected by systemic, and socio‑economic barriers including access to finance and services, discrimination, social norms and exploitation.
Vuniwaqa says these barriers curtail access to true economic empowerment and in turn limits the participation of at least half of our national populations in shaping economic and social policies.
The Minister says regional and international commitments support women's economic empowerment and the achievement of these noble goals remain beyond our reach.
She says as a region we must not leave any stone unturned in our effort to achieve true gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
While officially opening the Triennial Conference and the Pacific Ministers for Women, the President of the Marshall Islands Dr. Hilda Heine says that countries, communities, clans and families need to walk the talk and make sure that women enjoy the same economic rights as men.